An average of 18 people die daily in the U.S. waiting for a transplant, due to the shortage of donated organs. But science has now taken a step toward the future by growing for the very first time a pair of lungs in a lab, from two deceased children. The results could eventually save millions of people around the world waiting for an organ to save their lives.
Researchers from the University of Texas used tissue from the deceased to gather cells, strip down the lungs and grow a complete set of human lungs in just four weeks. This technique was developed in 2010 when scientists tested this theory on rats and a pig.
But now a human body part has been grown in a lab and the potential this has to save lives in the future is inspiring. But it could be at least 12 years before this technique to grow lungs in a lab becomes a reality.
While the researchers and stem cell scientists have made headlines with this procedure, it may be a while before the shortage of organs to donate is no longer a problem. This is one small step for science and a giant leap for organ donation, as I am left to ponder, what organ will they grow next?